Posted October. 21, 2017 07:46,
Updated October. 21, 2017 08:05
As Richard Thaler, a professor of the University of Chicago, has recently been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Economics, his book “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness” is widely read again among those in the government offices and public sector. In South Korea, there are not many policies developed by utilizing nudge theories yet, but it is easy to find some cases where theories of behavior economics are applied to real policies and take effect.
In October 2015, a 13-year-old child crossing a pedestrian crossing was hit by a right turning car and died in Anyang City, Gyeonggi Province. This kid checked the green signal only to be killed. One month later, a child crossing a crosswalk in front of an elementary school in Suwon City was also hit by a car.
As the pedestrian crossing accidents, particularly involving children, continued, the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency came up with an idea in March last year. They started to paint yellow footprints on the sidewalk, 0.5 to 1 meter away from the crosswalk.
Before yellow footprints were created, kids were often standing right near by the road during school hours and rushed to cross the crosswalk when the signal changed. As those footprints help kids naturally stay away from the road, kids have become more likely to stand on the marks and wait patiently for the signal to change.
The Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency painted yellow footprints on all 903 elementary school crossings by the end of October last year. The number of traffic accidents in the school zone in front of the elementary school, which was 52 from January to August last year, declined by nearly 30 percent to 38 during the same period this year. The number of casualties also decreased from 55 to 37. “(We) got this idea from the book ‘Nudge,’” said Lee Sun-woo, chief of the Traffic Department at the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency.